It’s all about the placement

by Chetna Sharma AKA Cheta/Chintu/Chetu – an Introvert,Movie and sitcom buff who loves sleeping and travelling

Product placement has found its relevance in movies, sitcoms, sports, game shows, novels and video games. A key part of brand development important point is making your brand more instantly accessible in memory and that’s what product placement does. The high recall, recognition and positive attitude scores suggest are responsible for consumer’s better responsiveness to product placement.

1. Product placement is non-interruptive: Viewers aren’t annoyed because their favourite T.V programs are not interrupted. Also they cannot be screened out.

2. Consumer is low on guard: It seeps into our subconscious it represents a natural, non-persuasive way of promoting brand or a firm. Making advertising less advertorial is what works. Product placement is seamless and gels well with the story line or theme. For this, relevance of products to the situation needs to be created- this is possible by incorporating the placement planning at a script level. For e.g. Subhash Ghai-produced and -directed blockbuster Taal, which had this very romantic scene featuring Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna sharing a bottle of Coke. Rachel green in popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S working in Ralph Lauren the fashion brand. These ideas were blended so meticulously into the storylines, that it is quite difficult to sense the advertising mania


3. Product placement is done for an important event or important person, main protagonist, big celebrity or high emotional involvement activity therefore has high recall and relevance. For e.g. in the movie Taare Zameen Par, Fevicryl was used as the colour used by all the participants in the drawing competition. The main protagonist Darsheel’s elder brother also gifts him Fevicryl colour prints. You’ve got Mail featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan had America Online (AOL) associated with main event of the movie that was sending the mail. Live shows: i10 as first prize you associate i10 with victory or something good.

4. Better segmentation: Audiences become fragmented into class specific segments; marketers are faced with the more difficult task of communicating their brand messages. A careful selection of a movie or a TV serial to place a product will help in reaching the target audience. Product is associated with the consumer profile that will watch the sitcom, as watching that movie/sitcom shows that either you aspire to be like the character or you relate to them. For eg: For instance Krrish targeted children, Dil chahta hai targeted youth, Vivah targeted audience of small cities, products like Jewelries and Sarees are feminine products and rightly placed in soaps like ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi kabhi Bahu Thi’ and ‘Kasauti Zindagi Ki’ which has a lot of female viewership.

5. Social validation: Consumers may view product placement as a way of determining which products are “cool” and become “must haves” for their peer group. Vanity-type products such as cell phones, apparel and beauty, are the best product placement performers. E.g.RayBan associated itself with Men in Black; most of the fashion products follow this route.

6. Better attention span: Watching a movie or serial is high attention and involving activity. The particular exposure context associated with movies in theatres (lights off, minimal noise and distraction possibilities, large screen, difficulty in moving around, no zapping) is bound to lead to a high level of consumer attention as opposed to, say, listening to an ad.

But consumers are not stupid. Consumers are aware of when they are being pitched, and poor product placement creative could potentially affect how the program content is viewed. Debate is till on .Is product placement better than traditional advertising?


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